Rep. Bizzarro named 2017 Humane Legislator of the Year

HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today was honored with the Humane Legislator of the Year award.

The award is given out by The Humane Society of the United States to select legislators who pursue meaningful legislation and awareness efforts related to animal issues.

“I am humbled yet excited to receive this award because we are voices for the animals and so much remains to be done to improve their welfare,” Bizzarro said. “It is my hope this award in some way improves the lives of neglected and mistreated animals of all species, and, by doing so, improves the human condition.”

Bizzarro has been a vocal champion of protecting animals and has sponsored Libre’s bill, named for a Boston terrier puppy found in critical condition at a Lancaster County farm. The puppy and his mother were both surrendered by their owner and nursed back to health.

His measure would:

  • Ban any abuser convicted of cruelty of animals from getting their pets back;

  • Create a first-time misdemeanor for an egregious act of animal cruelty; and

  • Add greater protection for horses that are severely abused.

Last session, Bizzarro’s Libre legislation unanimously passed the state Senate and made it out of the House Rules Committee twice, but failed to secure a final vote before the legislative session ended. This year’s measure, H.B. 13, remains in the House Judiciary Committee, where Bizzarro serves as a member.

Major components of Bizzarro’s bill have been incorporated into other bills, including H.B. 1238, which advanced out of the Judiciary Committee last week with Bizzarro’s support.

“It matters little who gets the credit and whose bill advances,” Bizzarro said. “What matters is that justice is served for all of the animals who suffer at the hands of offenders. It's time to finish what we started.”

Bizzarro’s surprise selection as Humane Pennsylvania Legislator of the Year came during Monday’s Humane Lobby Day at the Capitol. The annual advocacy event appeals for stronger animal protection laws and advances the importance of more robust animal welfare legislation.